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Sponsor says omnibus economic development bill would promote growth, boost underserved groups

The range of programs to be funded by the omnibus economic development finance bill is wide in scope and geographic reach.

It would aid both businesses and workers, and its impact would be felt from the Twin Cities, where communities are still trying to recover from pandemic shutdowns and the civil unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd, all the way to the northern tip of the state, the Grand Portage area, which also suffered when COVID-19 caused the Canadian border to close.

All programs proposed to be funded in HF3028 have a connecting theme, said Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Mpls). She sponsors the omnibus proposal that would make investments to drive energetic economic growth and vitality in the state.

“We don’t want our businesses to just survive, we want them to thrive," Hassan said. "We want Minnesota to be a destination where people want to visit and live.” 

But there is also a secondary theme, summed up by Hassan, who said the financing favors groups that have traditionally been marginalized and discriminated against due to systemic racism.

“In this committee, we have talked a whole lot about equity and wealth-building for communities who have been left behind. With many years of disinvestment and underinvestment, many of our communities do not have the means to dig themselves out of the cycle of poverty,” she said.

The House Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee went through a delete-all amendment Wednesday, took testimony from 18 people, and laid it over. Committee discussion is scheduled for Friday morning, at which time amendments will be considered, and a final vote taken.

The bill would appropriate $948.35 million in the 2024-25 biennium to the Department of Employment and Economic Development. More than 100 organizations or programs are slated to get $816.28 million of that amount.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

However, there are also several high-profile and/or big-ticket programs that would get funded:

  • $125.87 million for the empowering enterprise program (Twin Cities recovery);
  • $20 million for the emerging developer program;
  • $10 million for small business partnership grants;
  • $6 million to fund competitive grants to attract large-scale sporting and other major events to the state;
  • $5 million for Bloomington to prepare a bid to host the 2027 World’s Fair;
  • $5 million for the Neighborhood Development Center; and
  • $4 million for Grand Portage area economic relief.

Several policy provisions, some coming with funding requests, came from Gov. Tim Walz’s economic development bill, including the following:

  • establishing the Office of Child Care Community Partnerships;
  • creating the Minnesota Forward Fund;
  • creating small business navigator positions within the Small Business Assistance Office; and
  • expanding the types of businesses eligible to receive grants from the job creation fund.


What’s in the bill?

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus economic development finance bill:

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